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Babs Hodges Deal, a novelist, at 74

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Babs Hodges Deal, who wrote more than a dozen novels over a 20-year period, died Friday from complications of a recent illness, a friend said. She was 74.

Mrs. Deal, whose last novel was published in 1979, was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award -- one of the highest honors in mystery writing -- for her 1966 novel, "Fancy's Knell." A later novel, "The Walls Came Tumbling Down," was the basis for a made-for-television movie.

Mrs. Deal and her husband, novelist Borden, who died in 1985, were longtime residents of Sarasota, Fla., but she had been living in Gulf Shores in recent years, said friend and fellow author Wayne Greenhaw. She had been hospitalized in Montgomery, he said.

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